As the seasons change in the Capital Region, warming up with hearty meats, stews and soups can take the chill out of living in colder weather. Turkey, ham, or beef become the center of attention at family gatherings. Instead of buying your meat at the supermarket, why not try fresh, organic, and local meats? And if the hunter in your family didn’t come home with venison this year, you still have options. Here’s a look at what some nearby farms offer.
Lamb, beef, pork, goose
Laura Cline is the herdsman of this family farm. “In the winter, our most seasonal product is actually grass-fed lamb. We have beef and pork all year round,” says Cline. “We have a little flock of geese that we process before Thanksgiving as an alternative to turkeys. We don’t raise turkeys. The geese are so much fun to have around. They graze a lot. We have this little pond for them to live on and they are just so funny. We care about the animals that we are raising and we care about the land, too.”
The farm store is open year-round. “Anytime you come by the farm, there are going to be different animals around,” says Cline. “It’s not like a petting zoo. You can’t touch the animals but you can see them where they live.” Everything at the farm store comes from the farm and “is sold to you by the farmer who raised it.” The animals are pasture-raised, using regenerative rotational grazing practices following certified Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) standards.
1958 County Route 21
Valatie, NY 12184
Grazin’ Angus Acres
Not sure if grass-fed beef is what you want? Grazin’ Angus Acres is a local farm that offers people a chance to taste for themselves. They own both Grazin’ Diner in Hudson and Grazin’ Angus Acres in Ghent. “Every ounce of meat we serve at the restaurant comes directly from our farm,” says Grazin’ Diner General Manager Landon Powell. The restaurant is diner-style food and features burgers, sandwiches, steaks, sausage, and chicken soup made with meat from the farm. “The luxury cuts—large cuts of beef or pork, we sell via the farm,” says Powell. “The flavor profile is 100-percent pastured, grass-fed, certified AWA. I would encourage people to try these kinds of local meats and compare them side by side to see if the environmental improvements are worth the cost.”
717 Warren St.
Hudson, NY 12534
Venison, elk, bison, buffalo, and lamb
Even after deer season, venison can be purchased year-round from Highland Farm. Claire MacNamara and her husband are the on-site managers of the family-owned 55-acre farm that has been supplying the Northeast with farm-raised venison for more than 30 years. The meat is processed on the farm.
MacNamara says the lean wild game is a longtime favorite with people who grew up eating venison. The farm supplies venison to higher-end local restaurants, also offering their own farm fresh cuts, smoked products, and jerky, venison bundles, and assortments. Their wild game is raised free-range, without antibiotics, growth hormones, or animal meals. Deer are farm-raised on pasture and fed locally grown hay and grain. Online options include venison, elk, bison and buffalo cuts, ground beef and patties, grass-fed beef cuts, small game, and lamb.
283 County Route 6
Germantown, NY 12526
Turkey, chicken, pork, beef
“All of our animals live out on pasture as long as the season allows,” says Annie Metzger of Laughing Earth Farm. The turkeys are raised on the farm only for Thanksgiving, so Metzger’s advice is to pre-order. “Some years, we sell out at the end of October, other times—the week of Thanksgiving.” While the pigs are not certified organic, they are fed certified organic ration and live on pasture. “They are very happy, healthy pigs,” says Metzger. “They get to be out in the pasture and lounge around in the sun.”
Their chickens, available from the freezer in the offseason winter months, are certified organic and pasture-raised. “The flavor is unmatched. Pasture-raised adds a lot not only to the flavor of the chicken but also it’s better for the chickens and for the ecosystem,” says Metzger, adding that pasture-raised chickens directly fertilize the soil for future years. Interesting side note: the farm’s name was inspired by the Ralph Waldo Emerson poem: Hamatreya.
3842 NY Highway 2
Cropseyville, NY 12052
Pleasant View Farm
Turkey, pork, chicken
A seventh-generation family-owned business since 1799, Pleasant View Farm offers a variety of high quality, pasture-raised GMO, antibiotic and hormone-free local meats (pork, chicken, and turkey). “We keep them on a continuous rotation so that animals are always on grass,” says Farmer Tim Rau. If you’re interested in a holiday turkey, he advises ordering early. “We raise them fresh for Thanksgiving, so typically we sell out every year,” Rau says they produce enough pork and chicken to offer meat year-round and satisfy their CSA customers.
“We intentionally raise a surplus so that we have enough for our online store. We process whole chickens here on the farm. We make sure the animal is comfortable and raised humanely and on pasture. We put a lot of effort into it.”
Pleasant View Farm
6856 Lainhart Road
Altamont, New York 12009
*Note: The meat offerings by local farms listed in this article are those generally offered and based on supply during the fall and winter seasons.